Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not Like Me

"At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

You are not like me. You look different. You talk different.

And that's just fine.

I am not, as so many people seem to be, suspicious of difference. In fact, I am suspicious of sameness. I am leery of it.

I do not understand the mentality that would lead someone to wish to live in a world filled only with people "just like me". How frightful that would be. And boring.

Like eating the same food all the time.

I am not saying I am not without preferences or prejudices, we all have them. But when it comes to the people with whom I surround myself, I want diversity and variation. I want to be challenged in what I think is the way things are. I want to learn and grow and change.

Perhaps I have an unfair advantage. I grew up in a house in which a multitude of different nationalities and cultures constantly mixed. My parents always had exchange students from all over the world staying with us. And if you walked out the front door and looked at my neighborhood, the same neighborhood my daughter now calls her own, you'd see a mishmash of cultures. It's still that way. 40 years later.

And perhaps, too, I have never felt I fell within a culture that required an assertion of  "better than you". I never heard my parents say or saw my parents do anything remotely prejudiced. I was never raised with a sense of pride or honor because of my culture/race/socioeconomic status, rather I was raised to take pride and honor in the things I accomplished. Not the things I was by happenstance.

In my opinion, a culture is a not a thing that should be closely guarded and protected, but shared and celebrated.

We are not the same, you and I. We don't have to be.



Tali said...

You definitely had an advantaged being raised by two of my favorite people. I think if everyone was raised with parents like yours the world would be a much different place.

That being said, my dad and I have much different beliefs. We as humans can choose our path, it may be harder if you have to assert yourself but it its possible. Once "This is just how I was raised" isn't considered acceptable the world will change.

Paukku said...


I completely agree. As I said, having the parents I do gives me an advantage. But breaking out of a cycle of either familial or societal prejudice is possible. And with the world opening up through mass communication and social media, it becomes easier and easier to broaden view-points and expand the contact we have, even on a daily basis, with other cultures.

One of the reasons I love "The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford is because it is about just that - discarding narrow-mindedness and bigotry.

Thank you for your comments.

SuzRocks said...

So not to be totally like you...but I have to agree with you. And it's funny, because my whole childhood was spent with exchange students and international friends coming over to my house. I didn't appreciate it as much then, but now it's proved invaluable.

One thing I don't get is why people who are different can't still be friends and discuss things rationally.

bossymurph said...

I love your blog. Thank you.

My attraction, reflecting my late mother's attraction, to the different has always fascinated me in this " bird's of a feather" natural universe. I think one of the reasons I like people who are drawn to sameness is because they are different from me.

In any case, we can all celebrate commonalities, since we all have those. Life is grand.

Paukku said...

Susan, thank you! It means a lot to know you enjoy it and get something out of it.

As to our commonalities, I agree they are worth celebrating. I found on my many travels throughout this wonderful world of ours that the commonalities we all share cements us together as a huge family and the differences add the spice that keeps life interesting.